Which Rookie Skill Players can open up their teams offenses?
This past NFL Draft saw six wide receivers taken in the first rounds, a large number for any year. The message was clear by many of the teams that selected a receiver in the first round, the offense needs to have more help and more weapons, a star receiver can be just that. This year's draft saw many teams try to fill a supposed need at receiver but also at the other skill positions to help offenses. Which skill players can open up their offenses? Which rookies will allow their offenses to become more dynamic and possibly the best in the NFL?
Jerry Jeudy + KJ Hamler; Wide Receivers
It was hard to pick one of the two receivers that the Broncos selected in the draft. While Jerry Jeudy was regarded by many as the most complete receiver in the NFL Draft, KJ Hamler provides more upside for the Broncos. Jerry Jeudy has every tool that a great receiver needs and has the ability to become one of the greats. The skill Jeudy possesses that can open the Broncos offense up the most is his route running, Jeudy can get open on any route against any corner and be the safe look for the emerging Drew Lock. KJ Hamler showed one skill at Penn State that can make the Broncos offense unguardable, speed. KJ Hamler has in-game speed that can make him the next Tyreek Hill and can give the Broncos a deep ball option that keeps the opposing defense on it’s heels.
Drew Lock made his presence clear late last season and showed signs of having a breakout season in his second season. He needed some help on offense and the Broncos gave it to him. With the two receivers they drafted, Drew Lock will be able to throw deep on any defense with the help of the two explosive receivers (not to forget that the Broncos also have one of the better young receivers in the NFL in Courtland Sutton).
CeeDee Lamb; Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
It felt like a perfect fit to have CeeDee Lamb drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. As one of the top receivers selected in the Draft, Lamb has incredible play-making ability and was able to be an integral piece of the Oklahoma Sooners offense for three years. The Dallas Cowboys were in dire need of another receiver and while Michael Gallup has emerged as a viable number two receiver, CeeDee Lamb can be the number one wideout on a team that already has Amari Cooper. If the Cowboys can provide Dak Prescott with three 1,000 receiving yard receivers and Ezekiel Elliott is able to continue to be the dynamic back he has been since entering the league, the Cowboys offense can become one of the best in the NFL and the team can reach its first Super Bowl since the 1995 season.
Justin Jefferson; Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
The Viking lost Stephon Diggs in the off-season, trading him to the Bills in exchange for draft picks. This created a clear need for the Vikings in their offensive arsenal, a team that is ready to compete for a Super Bowl and has the star players to do so. Justin Jefferson was one of the many targets for the Heisman winner and number one overall pick Joe Burrow at LSU, Jefferson was a threat in the short passing game, crossing routes and the occasional deep ball in one of the best offenses that College Football ever saw. Jefferson looks like he can be a younger and higher ceiling version of Stephon Diggs, something that the Vikings can use as their offense doesn’t appear to have any weak points. Reports are coming out of the Vikings training camp that Justin Jefferson is ahead of schedule and progressing faster than expected, if true the Vikings offense can provide Kirk Cousins with enough targets and help to open up the offense.
JK Dobbins; Running Back, Baltimore Ravens
JK Dobbins will likely sit behind pro-bowl running back Mark Ingram for most of the season. However, Dobbins can open up an already explosive running game and an already explosive offense. JK Dobbins may not be the starting back but Mark Ingram has to feel the pressure of being replaced or splitting reps if Dobbins continues to incorporate into the roster, it’s important to keep in mind that Ingram was slowly replaced by Alvin Kamara in New Orleans starting in 2017 (Ingram might have another great season to avoid the replacement). JK Dobbins is also a different type of back that can keep the defense in check, Ingram is a tough back to bring down where Dobbins is more of an elusive back with breakaway speed. If Dobbins can make his way into the starting roster, the running game can have a three-headed monster with the inclusion of the current MVP Lamar Jackson who might be the best runner of the trio.
AJ Dillon; Running Back, Green Bay Packers
Like JK Dobbins, AJ Dillon can provide a different running style that contrasts the style of Aaron Jones. AJ Dillion is a human bowling ball and can be the power back that closes out games the way Derrick Henry can close out games for the Tennessee Titans. Dillon, like Henry, also has a unique advantage as a big back since defenses are being built in ways that don’t prepare them to stop power running backs.
The Packers made headlines on draft night when they selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round, considering that the Packers have Aaron Rodgers who is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. The subsequent headline was that the Packers refused to draft a receiver in the draft to help out Rodgers. Little is known about the help the Packers are giving Rodgers in another running back in AJ Dillon. With the Packers shifting to a more run heavy offense this pick not only is sensible but a pick that can add more layers to an offense that is continuing to develop.
Devin Asiasi + Dalton Keene; New England Patriots
The Patriots were largely criticized when they refused drafting a quarterback, especially after losing Tom Brady in free agency. The Patriots had a surplus number of picks and were able to fill many of their needs including adding key offensive players. One of the glaring weaknesses on offense was the lacking a playmaking tight end, Rob Gronkowski retiring took away one of Tom Brady’s security blankets and a blocking tight end that could take out pass rushers. The Patriots drafted two tight ends in the hopes that one or even both are going to be playmakers. The Patriots drafted two tight ends before, which resulted in landing Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Both Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene can transform the new offense into one that can keep the Patriots atop the AFC East.
Colby Parkinson; Tight End, Seattle Seahawks
Colby Parkinson was one of the steals of the draft. The Seahawks needed a tight end with the injuries to the position last season and Parkinson fell into their laps. The Seahawks had two tight ends that were an extra layer to the passing attack led by Russel Wilson, after Will Dissly was injured, the unit had a major drop off. Colby Parkinson is one of the best pass catching tight ends from the draft and can follow the many Stanford tight ends that have been great in the NFL. The Seahawks already have great receivers and great running backs, they need tight end that can help in the blocking to give Wilson more time and tight ends that can become matchup problems, Parkinson can be a matchup nightmare for defenses.